A total of 2.25 million Filipinos were members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in 2010, up from 1.76 million in 2000, data from the latest census by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed.
The number of voting-age INC members at the time was estimated at 1.37 million, as 61 percent of the country’s population was 18 and above.
Of some 92 million Filipinos in 2010, 56.5 million were of voting age.
Based on the same NSO data, of the 5.13 million Muslim Filipinos, about 3.13 million were of voting age, while of the 74.2 million Catholic Filipinos, 45.3 million were of voting age.
Voter turn-out in the 2010 general elections was 75.02 percent. It was 73.1 percent in the 2007 midterm elections, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board.
Asked about the INC’s voting age population, the Iglesia’s department of evangelism under Bro. Bien Santiago said that as a matter of church policy, the figure was confidential.
Known for block voting, INC was founded by Felix Manalo in July 1914 in Sta. Ana, Manila. The INC considers Jesus Christ as its founder, with Felix as the messenger commissioned to preach about the church.
In its teachings, the INC considers the Bible as the sole basis of faith. Felix served as the executive minister of INC from 1914 until his death in 1963, and was replaced by his son Eraño, who died in 2009. INC’s current head is Eraño’s son Eduardo.
Its central office complex is found on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. The 50-hectare complex includes the biggest house of worship of the INC, the Central Temple, which stands on a 1.6-hectare property and can seat 7,000 worshippers. The complex also has the 30,000-seat Central Pavilion, College of Evangelical Ministry, New Era General Hospital and New Era University.—Kate Pedroso, Inquirer Research
Sources: NSO, NSCB and Inquirer Archives